An anti-fracking meeting at IGas’ Duttons Lane site near Chester is going ahead this weekend, despite the eviction of the protest camp.
The event, described as Solidarity Saturday, is still scheduled for 16th January 2016. Details Campaigners against fracking from several parts of the UK are expected in.
On Tuesday (12th January 2016), bailiffs supported by police from Cheshire, Merseyside and North Wales cleared people from the site in an operation lasting about nine hours. DrillOrDrop report
IGas, which wants to drill an exploratory coal bed methane well at Duttons Lane, was granted a possession order by the High Court in November 2015.
Cheshire Police confirmed that nine campaigners had been arrested and charged after the eviction, mostly with obstructing police or enforcement officers. Most are expected to appear in court next month (February 2016).
The arrested campaigners included the local Labour councillor, Matt Bryan, who represents Upton ward on Cheshire West and Chester Council. He was arrested after he climbed on top of a cherry picker about to be used by bailiffs. He said he was acting to prevent possible danger to life. He told The Guardian:
“It’s a miracle nobody was killed. As soon as the police advised me that the appropriate measures had been taken, I removed myself and climbed down from the loader, at which point they arrested me for obstructing a police officer.”
He told The Cheshire Chronicle he intends to plead not guilty. The paper said as a ward councillor he had held meetings with the police in the run-up to the eviction. He said police had not kept to an agreement to maintain public access along Duttons Lane unless there was a public safety issue. In closing the road, he says police forced local protesters to hold a demonstration along the busy A41.
Details of charges
Stephen Allen, of no fixed address, charged with aggravated trespass and resisting an enforcement officer
Matthew Bryan, Chester, charged with obstructing/resisting a constable in the execution of their duty
Richard Burcumshaw, from Bolton, charged with assaulting a constable in the execution of his/her duty and section 5 public order
Isabell Bish, of Hampshire, charged with resist/obstruct an enforcement officer
Richard Cairnes, of no fixed abode, charged with failing to comply with a section 35 direction excluding a person from an area;
Lanner Davis, of no fixed abode, charged with resist/obstruct an enforcement officer
John Hall, of no fixed abode, charged with obstruct/resist a constable in the execution of their duty
Louise Hammond, from Scunthorpe, charged with resist/obstruct an enforcement officer
Jamie Watson, from Ayr, charged with resist/obstruct an enforcement officer